Around my 24th week of pregnancy my belly started to grow. I liked that part because I began to look pregnant. I loved the attention I got too. I often had doors held open for me, whenever I dropped something some one was quick to pick it up and there were times people would offer for me to go ahead of them in the grocery line. I had no idea how kind people were when you were pregnant. I loved it. Carol and I spent a lot of time going to a local bookstore to look at one particular book. It showed the growth of the embryo. We’d grab something from the cafe and sit looking at the pictures to see where our baby was developmentally at that moment. I can still remember us looking at that book and feeling the pregnancy was taking forever. We’d talk about our hopes and desires for our son and wonder what he’d look like. Would he be smart and inquisitive? We could only hope. Also while there, we would look at the many name books. Now that was fun. Carol would often point out the most insane names which would make us laugh.
During one of our trips to the bookstore, I told Carol I wanted a baby shower. Now let me explain something. Judaism is very superstitious, so baby showers were not customary. In fact if my mom had been alive I doubt she would have allowed me to have one. However on the flip side of things I no longer had a job and we no longer could afford many of the things we needed for the baby. OK, honestly, there wasn’t much we needed but as a first time mom, I wanted certain things. I figured by having a shower, it would help us. Carol was hesitant at first. She didn’t like asking people for things but she saw how much I wanted it so she agreed.
I spoke to a wonderful and beautiful friend of mine who said she’d host it at her home. Another wonderful and beautiful friend (who has since died after her long, long battle with breast cancer) offered to help. I was SO excited and SO appreciative for them doing that for us. It meant the world to us.
People thought I was crazy because I wanted to have the baby shower when I was only 6 months pregnant. But, what was new? Me crazy? Yep! Here was my rationale. I wanted to enjoy my baby shower. I didn’t want to be too big and possibly uncomfortable. Also, I was due in August and I knew once summer came, I’d definitely be miserable with the heat. And so, my two friends were on board to help out. I told them I’d handle all of the invitations if they handled the food. Plus, it was important to not have everything blue just because we were having a boy. I figured if I designed the invitation we could use that as the theme. And so that was what I did. I chose ducks as the theme and my card read, “Come help MaLea and Carol get their ducks in a row before the baby comes.”
During this time Carol and I had an awesome time registering at our local baby store. For the first time it made us forget about our financial woes and got us excited about our baby’s arrival. We laughed at the many ridiculous and insane items one could buy for their baby. We enjoyed trying out the nursing chairs and we oohed and ahhh’d over the adorable, tiny baby clothes. We wanted a theme for our baby’s room but we couldn’t find something we both loved. Well, it wasn’t until we saw the John Lennon animal design. When we did and we both said at the same time, “I love this, our decision was made. While at the baby store we saw a shirt that gave us an idea. We thought it would be cute to buy something for Carol’s daughter to include her in the fun. So, we bought her a t-shirt that read: I’m the big sister. The fact she was 15 years old and would be 16 when the baby would be born, we thought it would be fun(ny).
The day of our baby shower it was perfect weather. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Our friend’s home was the perfect setting. She had plenty of room inside and out. Behind her home was beautiful lake where guests could sit and enjoy. It was awesome. Our other friend who helped cook made the most delicious dishes. When Carol and I arrived we were in shock. We couldn’t believe how much work they had done. There was so much delicious home made foods, fabulous decorations and the cake was hysterical. It was of a pregnant woman. It really was a special moment and we were so grateful to our two friends who did so much work for us. Elizabeth and Jerry thank you so much for a memorable and fabulous day. And to Alberta who is no longer with us, where you are please know we are grateful to you too. Your delicious foods (and you) will forever be missed.
When our friends and family started arriving we couldn’t believe how many came to celebrate with us. The thing was we knew not everyone would understand or accept us starting a family. We understood we were not the traditional family and because of that there may be some of our friends who wouldn’t want to support us. Having lost friends when Carol and I first became a couple, we were prepared for that to happen again at the announcement of us being pregnant. So on the day of my baby shower when we saw every person we had invited attended, my heart melted. There was so much power in their support. It was special to have my sister and husband there. The family who single handedly rescued me from my abusive father not only came but they bought us the one item we so desperately needed- a crib. That meant the world to us. The family I lived with and helped with their daughter attended and of course there was Carol’s mom who has always been there for us.
It’s interesting because for those who have not known adversity in a way we have it’s difficult for them to understand what it’s like. For me and Carol who had gone through so much, I don’t think our friends and family could have even remotely understood how meaningful it was to have their support. Even though it was clear we were a different kind of family it was irrelevant on the day of our baby shower. On that day we were like any other couple getting ready for the birth of our child. We will never forget that joyous day.